Next Semester Courses (Spring 2023)

ENGL 10000-01           Exploring the Major   HU LA 3A h                             

3 Credits           


INSTRUCTOR:           Derek Adams, Muller 304 

ENROLLMENT:                    25 students per section 

PREREQUISITES:                 None 

COURSE DESCRIPTION:        This course intends to assist scholars interested and/or majoring in Literatures in English (primarily those in their first or second year) with understanding and exploring opportunities available to them during their time at Ithaca College and after graduation. As part of this, you will learn about the mission of a liberal arts education and contemplate the purpose of college. You will also work to define your own purpose in coming to Ithaca College and choosing your major. Though the course is primarily discussion-based, current faculty members and students in the major will deliver guest presentations to introduce you to important information and connect you to useful resources. You will actively pursue knowledge of yourself, your educational options, extra-curricular and professional interests, and you will learn research, writing and decision-making strategies that will benefit you while in college and beyond. We will also dedicate time in class for your own questions to be discussed. 

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion with the occasional context-setting lecture 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: One 500-word personal reflection, and active participation in class discussions. 

ENGL 10500-01, 02 Introduction to American Literature HU LA 3a
3 credits
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course examines 19th, 20th, and 21st –century literature by writers who explore American identity. Race, class, and gender contribute to the way in which a character’s self is interpreted by others, so these will be frequent topics of discussion. The writers considered here suggest that identity is a “performance,” and that being an American involves the wearing of various masks. Texts will include Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Gish Jen’s Who’s Irish?
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion with occasional lectures
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Several (1-page) response papers, two (5-page) essays, a mid-term, and a final exam. Participation is 10-15% of your grade, so silence is ill advised. Attendance policy.



ICC DESIGNATION: Perspectives: HU/CA; Themes: Identities/Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation

INSTRUCTOR: Hugh Egan, 306 Muller, ext. 4-3563

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section


COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course we will read a wide range of American short fiction, gathered loosely around the themes of childhood, adolescence, adult relationships, aging and death. In the course of our reading and discussion, we will traverse issues related to American identity, especially as they are inflected by race, ethnicity, and gender. We will also become familiar with formal elements of the short story, including point of view, plot, tone, and dialogue. Over the course of the term, we will read a combination of classic and contemporary American stories. We will end the term by reading Alexander Weinstein’s collection, Children of the New World.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Largely discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two short essays (2 pages), two longer essays (5-6 pages), a mid-term, a final exam, and class participation. Grading will be A-F. Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.

ENGL 11300, Introduction to Poetry 3 Credits

ICC THEMES: Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation ICC PERSPECTIVES: Humanities and Creative Arts

INSTRUCTOR: Alexis Becker ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section PREREQUISITES: None

COURSE DESCRIPTION: How does a poem produce meaning? What does poetry do with language? This course is an introduction to a) the constituent elements of poems and the vocabulary with which we can analyze them and b) the extraordinary variety and capaciousness of texts we call “poems.” The aim of this course is to arrive at a sense, both ample and precise, of what a poem is, what it does, how it does what it does, and, perhaps, why we should care.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion (online, mostly synchronous)

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Short writing assignments, recitations, poetic compositions, annotated poetry anthology, lively participation.

ENGL 18200-01, 02   The Power of Injustice & the Injustice of Power                                         HU LA 3A h 

TOPIC:                         Life at the Margins in American Literature 

3 Credits           

ICC ATTRIBUTE:        Diversity, Humanities Perspective, Power & Justice and Identities Themes 

INSTRUCTOR:             Derek Adams, Muller 304 

ENROLLMENT:           20 per section 


COURSE DESCRIPTION:        Many individuals continue to feel as though they live at the margins of society, despite the “melting pot” rhetoric of inclusivity and acceptance that dominates narratives of American identity. While we commonly consider purposeful exclusion an act of injustice on the part of the powerful, we are often unaware of the way that subtle, hidden forms of power render particular groups and individuals powerless. American literature is one of the most widely utilized platforms for articulating the specific issues that arise in response to these forms of power. This course will use an array of American literary texts to explore the complexities of the life experiences of those who are forced by the powerful to live at the margins. We will read the work of Rebecca Harding Davis, Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Junot Diaz, Adam Mansbach, ZZ Packer, and Tommy Orange.   

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion with the occasional lecture 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Students will closely examine course materials, actively engage in class discussions, write short textual analysis essays and a



ICC ATTRIBUTE: Writing Intensive 

INSTRUCTOR: Kasia Bartoszynska


What does it mean to be good at reading? What do we do when we “study” literature? In this class, we examine different ways to analyze and interpret texts, and think about what kind of knowledge those interpretations produce—what, and who, they’re for. Why do we read? What is literature? How do we go about understanding it better? And how does it help us understand the world better (does it, really?)? In order to answer these questions, we’ll look at some of the ways people have tried to answer them in the past — at what is called literary theory.  

But as we’re examining these different theories, we’ll also be putting them into practice by reading various works of literature: Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild”, Tommy Pico’s Nature Poem, James Joyce’s The Dead, and othersThe real goal of the course is to give students the opportunity to develop their own critical perspective, to refine the tools they use to argue for the kinds of interpretations they care about, whether that’s the gender politics of the Marvel universe or the character structure of the Twilight books.  

PREREQUISITE: One course in English. This course is designed primarily for first-years and sophomores who are working towards an English major, though others are welcome.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Active class participation, regular short writing assignments, one in-class presentation, two formal essays.

narrative analysis reflection, and regularly post to our Sakai Forum.



ICC DESIGNATION: Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, Muller 326

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Why study Shakespeare now? The question has never been more pressing for those who would situate the playwright and his works at the heart of English studies and other Humanities disciplines. Shakespeare was an immensely talented poet, but he died over 400 years ago. Of what use can he be in grappling with the problems currently confronting us?—rising tides of political authoritarianism and war; economic inequality, systemic racism, xenophobia, misogynistic violence; and, critically, ideological polarization that prevents us from arriving at a consensus on ‘reality’ itself? If Shakespeare is to be viewed as relevant in 2023, his work arguably must help bring the challenges we now face into better focus and inspire us to respond in meaningful ways. Whether indeed they have this capacity will be the question that guides us throughout the semester. No prior knowledge of Shakespeare is necessary to succeed in this course—only enthusiasm, curiosity, and a readiness to study three rich texts—The Merchant of Venice, Othello, and The Winter’s Tale—both in the contexts of Shakespeare’s time and our own.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: active participation; close-reading exercises; a reader-response journal; a take-home final exam.

ENGL 21900  03, 04  Shakespeare


ICC DESIGNATION:  Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation  

INSTRUCTOR: David Kramer, Muller 322

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section.

CRN:  40406/40407

PREREQUISITE: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing, or permission of the instructor.  This course may be repeated for credit provided there is no duplication of the plays studied.

OBJECTIVES:   By studying comedies, tragedies, romances, and histories, the course will introduce Shakespeare’s theatre to both initiates and novices.  As we read the plays themselves we will study Shakespeare’s time, politics, religious, cultural, and scientific beliefs; what biography we possess and can conjecture; the workings of the Elizabethan theatre; Shakespeare’s poetic craft; his contemporary and subsequent reputation and that of individual plays; the vexed history of the texts themselves; and the forms and procedures of individual works as well as those of the genres of tragedy, comedy, romance, and history.  Using both the foreground of the texts and the background of context we will approach larger questions of meaning, both for Shakespeare’s time and for our own.  Substantial emphasis will be placed on the question of pleasure–why these plays pleased and still do; and on the question of cultural function, both in Shakespeare’s time and in our own.

Shakespeare set more of his plays in Italy than any of his contemporaries, and we will explore his use of Italian settings and plots through our readings of Two Gentlemen of VeronaTaming of the ShrewRomeo and JulietMuch Ado about NothingMerchant of VeniceOthello, and Winter’s Tale, works which span his career from earliest to latest.

STUDENTS: Required of English majors and minors and some Theater Arts majors, but all are welcome.

FORMAT AND STYLE: Discussion and lectures.

REQUIREMENTS: Close reading of seven plays; completion of all assigned readings (quizzes will be given at each class); one written response each class; participation in classroom discussion; memorization of fifty lines during the course of the semester; two five-page essays; essay mid-term and final exam.

INSTRUCTOR:  Derek Adams, 304 Muller
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Study of black women writers such as Hurston, Angelou, Morrison, and Walker.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion with the occasional lecture

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Students will closely examine course materials, complete reading quizzes, put together an in-class presentation, actively engage in class discussions, craft three short textual analysis essays, and complete a final exam.

ENGL 23100 Ancient Literature      


INSTRUCTOR: Robert Sullivan


Literatures (and cultures) have roots that nurture and, to some extent at least, determine their subjects, attitudes, and forms. This course will take us to the Greco-Roman roots that have nourished Western textual traditions for over 2500 years. Together we will encounter lyric poetry, tragic and comedic theatre, and epic, as one might expect, as well as other genres such as panegyric, mythology, biography, epistles, oratory, or varieties of philosophical literature with which one might well be less familiar. Particular emphasis will be placed on bodies of work that have had powerful influences on later literatures, including those of Homer, Vergil, Ovid, Seneca, Plautus, Isocrates, Cicero, Euripides, Sophocles, Lucretius, and Sappho. We’ll also read some of the critical texts by which the scholars of antiquity, such as Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, and the pseudo-Longinus, sought to make sense of what they were reading. All our readings will be in English translations.


PREREQUISITE: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Active class participation, short writing assignments, one term paper.



ICC DESIGNATION:  Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR:  Alexis Kellner Becker

ENROLLMENT: 20 students

PREREQUISITES:   One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing; WRTG10600 or equivalent.

OBJECTIVES: This course provides a partial introduction to the huge range of literature written between c. 800 and c. 1500 CE, primarily in the British Isles. Who produced medieval literature? Who read it or listened to it? How did medieval writers wrestle with the social, economic, political, economic, and ecological problems of their time? How did they think about history? How did they tackle the question of what it means to be a person, a citizen, and/or a fictional character? This course will explore how imaginative literature in the Middle Ages created different kinds of human, nonhuman, and superhuman subjects, real and imaginary. How, we will ask, can this literature help us think through our own ideas about how to read and how to live?  Readings may include Old English elegies and riddles, Icelandic saga, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Mabinogion, Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, Langland’s Piers Plowman, Julian of Norwich’s Revelation of Love, and Middle English lyric.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE:  Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING:  Three 4-5-page essays, one short response paper, a term paper, and class participation.  Grading will be A-F based on the above requirements.  Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an essential part of students’ final grades.

ENGL 28500 Queer Lit

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Jennifer Spitzer, Muller 305

ENROLLMENT: 25 per section

PREREQUISITES: Sophomore Standing

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will survey key works of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer literature, and it will introduce you to some key debates in queer literary studies. We will familiarize ourselves with the social, political, and legal, contexts of our readings as we explore their representations of sexuality, gender, intimacy, sociability, and desire. We will also explore the affective and political potential of these works, how they develop a historical awareness of violence, oppression, and homo/ bi/ and transphobia; how they envision alternative forms of attachment, belonging, and intimacy; and how they imagine survival, resilience and transcendence. Authors include Carson McCullers, James Baldwin, Justin Torres, Maggie Nelson, and Carmen Maria Machado. We will read these authors in conjunction with short critical readings on queer theory by Sara Ahmed, Judith Butler, and José Esteban Muñoz.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Some short lectures, but the class is primarily discussion based.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Short response papers, 2 formal essays, midterm exam.

ENGL 29400 01 Slow Read: The Odyssey       


INSTRUCTOR: Robert Sullivan


Odysseus’ return to Ithaca from Troy has become one of the paradigmatic ‘hero’s journeys’ in world literature. The Odyssey has had a profound influence on an astonishing array of literatures and cultures from the time of its composition in the late 8th century BCE to our present day, and the poem continues to echo in virtually every medium. It’s also a rattling good tale of love, adventure, yearning, cruelty, and folly. The characters and set-piece stories have become common to even those who have never read the original. The blinding of the Cyclops Polyphemus. The amazing sorceress Circe. The massacre of Penelope’s suitors. The Sirens, the Lotus Eaters, Scylla and Charybdus – all crowd the imagination.

The poem’s 12,091 lines of dactylic hexameter have been brilliantly translated by Emily Wilson, the first woman to have published a complete rendition in English. We will read The Odyssey at a rate that is appropriate to the poem’s expanse, working through one or two “books” (much more akin to chapters) per week over the term. All are welcome to join us on this encounter with the world of the epic.

PREREQUISITE: No prerequisites. All are welcome.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Active class participation, short writing assignments, one in-class presentation.


INSTRUCTOR: David Kramer, Muller 322, ext. 4-1344.

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section.

PREREQUISITE: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing, or permission of the instructor. 

OBJECTIVES:  Tristram Shandy, written between 1759 and 1767, startled, delighted, perplexed, and appalled its original audience; it has proved one of the most influential novels ever written.  Most English majors have heard of it (especially if they’ve taken any course with me).  But what is it?  What makes it so addictive, pleasurable, perplexing?    Joyce, Woolf, Fuentes, Kundera, Rushdie, Grass, and many other modernist and post-modernist writers have responded to its methods and themes; to read Tristram Shandy is to approach post-modernity from its pre-modern side. 

As the course title suggests, we’ll read it slowly—the only worthwhile way.   There will be perplexity (I’ll help you with that), bawdry (you’re mostly on your own), delight (we’ll all share).

REQUIREMENTS:  Attendance, weekly short written responses, one extended analytical essay.

ENGL 29700 (02) Professional Development Practicum (Graphic Novels)

INSTRUCTOR: Katharine Kittredge, Muller 317, Ext. 4- 1575



OBJECTIVES: The "Graphic Novel Advisory Board" is a group of IC students who get together to review children's and teen's graphic novels. They share their findings with rural librarians and discuss ways for them to enhance their collections of graphic novels. The group puts out a monthly newsletter reviewing a wide range of graphic novels. This 1.5 credit experimental course is a great opportunity for anyone interested in education, promoting reading, or marketing/publishing graphic novels. If the pandemic allows, we also host community events promoting reading and collaborate with ITHACON to provide a whimsical reading room.

FORMAT/STYLE: Small group collaborative activities, regular writing assignments, weekend site visits.

GRADING: Performance of assigned tasks, participation in site visits, regular writing assignments, end-of-semester assessment based on personal goals (may involve event planning, reviewing, editing, or doing website enhancement), reflection on event and personal achievement.

ENGL 33100-01, DRAMATIC LITERATURE I: Early English Comedy and Tragedy


ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, Muller 326

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITES: Three courses in English, history of the theater, or introduction to the theater.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course traces the evolution of English stage comedy and tragedy from the medieval period to the seventeenth-century. Comedy, with its emphasis on laughter, emotional fulfilment, and social harmony is sometimes viewed as less serious in its aims than its ancient counterpart, tragedy. But rarely in the English tradition are

comic and tragic impulses merely antithetical. English comedy depends upon an awareness of the precariousness of human happiness—life’s ripe potential, at every turn, for disaster and despair—while tragedy, no less conscientiously, weighs the values of joy, order, and rationality against their obliteration to achieve its fullest effects. As dramatic categories, then, comedy and tragedy are mutually constitutive and complementary in the way they artistically organize and evaluate human experience; both at once affirm and subject to painful disintegration our prized ideas about the world and our positions in it. To better grasp the formal, political, and philosophical dimensions of English comedy and tragedy before 1800, this course will first survey some foundational examples of each from ancient Greece and Rome, including Aristophanes’ Lysistrata; Seneca’s Thyestes; and Plautus’s The Haunted House. We will then study a selection of medieval and early modern English plays that adapt or appropriate past works in innovative ways, such as Noah and his Wife (and other civic Biblical pageants); Thomas Middleton’s The Bloody Banquet; Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist; Elizabeth Carey’s The Tragedy of Mariam; John Fletcher’s The Tamer Tamed (a sequel to Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew); and Aphra Behn’s The Feigned Courtesans.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: active participation; close-reading exercises; an essay; a take-home final exam.

Topic: Declarations of independence; revelations of confinement
ICC ATTRIBUTE: Writing intensive
INSTRUCTOR: Hugh Egan, 306 Muller
ENROLLMENT: 20 students
PREREQUISITES: 9 credits in the humanities.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Throughout its relatively short recorded history, America has trumpeted itself as an exceptional experiment in nationhood—a democratic, self-reliant citizenry that serves as a model to the world. In this class we will interrogate some of the assumptions behind the idea of "American exceptionalism" and the myth of the "American dream." Beginning with accounts of European contact, we will follow the “new world” theme through the Puritan, Colonial, and Transcendental eras, through the Civil War to the brink of the 20th century. In one sense, the cultural trajectory of this course traces a familiar path—from a sense of early expectation and unlimited potential to the sobering realities of human pain and historical contingency. Throughout the term, we will examine how America's declarations of independence often reveal or conceal painful episodes of confinement— literal enslavement and also psychological imprisonment. To trace this theme, we will read a variety of American documents, including religious sermons, political treatises, philosophical essays, autobiographies, poems, short stories and, at the end of the term, a novel by Kate Chopin.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Largely discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three 5 page essays, and a substantial end-of-term research project.



ICC DESIGNATION: Capstone course

INSTRUCTOR: Robert Sullivan

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITE: Senior standing in English

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course provides students with an opportunity to reflect on their four years of study as English majors and within the ICC. The goal of the course is to complete all necessary material for the ICC e-portfolio, and for students to consider their own experiences within the context of College academic programming as well as the framework of the liberal arts more generally.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: One 1000-word reflective essay, one shorter reflective assignment, and class participation. Grading will be P/F.

ENGL 46000 – 01 Seminar in 20th/21st Century Literature: Virginia Woolf



INSTRUCTOR: Jennifer Spitzer


In this author-focused seminar we will indulge the pleasures (and challenges) of reading Virginia Woolf, moving from the formally adventurous postwar novel Mrs. Dalloway, to the impressionistic elegy, To the Lighthouse, to the fluid, gender-bending fantasy novel Orlando. We will think about Woolf as the experimental writer blazing new trails for fiction, and as a radical feminist demanding income and a room of one’s own for women creators. We will explore Woolf as a queer artist experimenting with trans embodiment and speculative futures in Orlando, and as a pandemic author writing about illness, the body, and the joys/terrors of post-pandemic parties. We will not only discuss Woolf’s genre-bending work, but we will write about Woolf in genre-bending ways that are creative, personal, scholarly, and political. Some questions we might ask: How did Woolf go from being an Edwardian good girl to a modernist, feminist badass? How did she make emotions the coolest part of the novel? Why did she write a biography from the point of view of a dog? We will also enjoy some adaptations of Woolf, including the 1992 film Orlando, starring Tilda Swinton and the 2002 film, The Hours, based on the novel by Michael Cunningham.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Seminar Discussion and Conference Presentation

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Exceptional engagement in all aspects of class discussion; one conference-style paper 6 pages and the development of that paper into a research paper of approx. 15-20 pages.

ENGL 48300 – 01 Advanced Studies in Feminist Science Fiction

INSTRUCTOR:  Katharine Kittredge, Muller 317, Ext. 4- 1575


PREREQUISITES: two classes in the humanities

OBJECTIVES: Students in this class will be instrumental in running the academic conference to be held at IC in April: Pippi to Ripley 4: Sex and Gender in Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Comics.  Students will either present an academic paper at the conference or design a community-based project which they will discuss at the conference. Additional time will be spent looking at the abstracts submitted, creating the panels, mentoring newer presenters and designing promotional materials for the event. Some reading and viewing of texts chosen by the students will be mandatory for the class, but the exact nature of these texts will be determined by the class members.

FORMAT/STYLE:  Lecture, discussion, small group, collaborative activities

GRADING:  Performance of conference-supporting activities, abstract creation, presentation of project or paper, reflection on event and personal achievement.

ENGL 48400– 01 Seminar in Podcasting the Humanities



INSTRUCTOR: Chris Holmes, Muller 318


PREREQUISITE: some familiarity with podcasts, a two courses in the humanities

Since the dawn of the internet age, new media has offered a vast array of ways to engage with the humanities. Access to an internet connection makes you a published author, philosopher, religious leader, art critic, and on, and on. One of the most remarkable elements of new media is the return to audio-based medium after decades of dominance by the visual (tv, film, youtube, etc.). The podcast has become a major form of interaction with the humanities. It has evolved into a popular genre of storytelling, interview, investigation, discovery, and criticism. Millions of people world-wide digest the news of the world via podcast. It remains a fairly new mode of inquiry, and this class will be asking you to engage, create, and critique this evolving form.

Through a mix of theory and practice, you will be asked to become an expert in the forms and genres of the podcast, looking at how disciplines of the humanities--literature, history, philosophy, journalism, religion, etc.--are represented, critiqued, expanded, and debunked using the podcast as the means of inquiry. This will involve listening to many types of podcasts and learning how to "read" an audio form, as you might a novel or newspaper. There will be writing assignments in which you analyze the content and form of particular podcasts.

This is also very much a practice seminar. This means that each member of the class will produce a podcast season or longform episode as the final project for the course. We will dedicate a portion of each class session to technical aspects of podcasting, including: recording audio, mixing and editing, including guests, publishing and marketing, etc. Student assistants will be in the class to help with technical and practical skills. You will finish the class with a published podcast that engages with a particular field in the humanities.

FORMAT/STYLE:  Seminar discussion, small group, collaborative activities

GRADING:  Participation, writing assignments critiquing and analyzing podcasts, and a final published podcast will all be assessed with A-F grading.